EASTON Looking to improve on a device that has lacked any large-scale advances since its invention hundreds of years ago, Easton resident Peter Bailey has developed a new mooring buoy system that he says will eliminate the prior model's shortcomings.
An avid boater, Bailey has a lot of experience using vessel moorings as an alternative to anchoring and staying in marinas.
From his experiences, he said, the traditional model has one main deficiency the pendant line that attaches the mooring buoy and chain to the vessel is left hanging in the water. While submerged, these lines not only are susceptible to being run over by boat props, but also to attracting marine growth, he said.
"Anyone who has picked up a dirty mooring pendant from the water knows that the slime, sea grass and even barnacles and other tiny marine creatures can dirty up your boat and your hands to a very bothersome degree," Bailey said. "I thought there had to be a better way."
So Bailey spent the past three years developing and testing Clean-Moor a system based off a conventional-shaped mooring buoy, but one that is fitted with a pendant that automatically retracts inside the buoy, rather than laying in the water.
With a focus on keeping the device simple, Bailey used a flexible plastic reel powered by a special industrial-grade power spring to haul the pendant in once boaters are finished with it.
"As I was developing the system, I tried to cover every conceivable way of doing it that was simple," said Bailey, who took his time with the process to ensure he created the best possible device. "We didn't want to put a motor in it or anything that would be too high-tech."
Since the device only affects the above-water part of the system, Clean-Moors can be affixed to existing systems by simply connecting the chain to the new buoy.
"The underwater part of the system stays the same," Bailey said.
Although Bailey has tried to think through every possible detail, he said this year will show if the device has any shortcomings, as the system will undergo extensive in-water tests this boating season before hopefully going to the market in 2013.
Bailey already has cleared one big hurdle, though, after being awarded what he described as a "strong" U.S. patent for the device in August.
"There was such a lack of relative prior art that we were able to get all 28 claims approved," he said. "So it should be a pretty strong patent."
Given that boaters must use moorings in New England, since they aren't allowed to anchor, Bailey said he plans to focus his promotion and tests in that area this winter before moving closer to home this spring and summer.
"My thought is to get the individual boaters aware and interested, and then hopefully they'll start asking the mooring service companies, who install and service the systems, for them," Bailey said. "I think the word will spread pretty quickly."
Bailey is a longtime Talbot County resident, moving to the area at the age of 7 with his family, who had just bought Jefferson and Poplar islands.
Before retiring in the late 1990s, Bailey was employed at Cambridge International in a variety of roles, including as an engineer, sales manager and manager of foreign plants.
Since his retirement, Bailey said, he's kept himself busy boating, traveling more than 30,000 in his down east cruiser.